Service users' perceptions of community mental health services

To understand the quality of services that the NHS delivers, it is important to understand what service users think about their care and treatment. The Community mental health survey asked users several questions about their experiences.

Perceptions of the quality of care for community mental health services

These data have been taken from annual surveys. Since 2014, people were asked to rate their overall care experience from 0 (very poor) to 10 (very good). Almost three quarters of people gave their care a score of at least 6 out of 10 in 2016 (73%), a slight increase on 2015 (71%). The proportion of people rating their overall experience as five or below fell in 2016.

Updated November 2016.

Have there been changes in support for community mental health service users?

This question assessed how well patients felt that NHS mental health services supported them with various aspects of their lives. Physical health needs were the best supported, with the lowest proportion of service users reporting that they did not receive enough support (35% in 2016). Help with finding or keeping work consistently showed the poorest levels of support of all areas from 2014 (44%) to 2016 (43%).

Updated November 2016.

How has the proportion of respondents not able to contact the person in charge of their care changed?

From 2014, patients were asked whether they knew how to contact the person in charge of organising their care and services if they had a concern. In 2014 only 3% of people said they didn't know how to contact the person in charge of their care. This increased to 4% in 2015 but fell back to 3% in 2016.

Updated November 2016.

About this data

The Community mental health survey looks at a sample of people from each trust who used NHS mental health services.

Use of a mental health service could include contact with psychiatrists or psychiatric nurses, mental health support workers, occupational therapists, psychologists, psychotherapists or other mental health as well as social care workers, including those helping people with dementia, depression or other types of mental health problem. The survey asked people their views of the service to see how well it worked and whether it could be improved.

Due to changes in the questionnaire and methodology, data after 2010 are not comparable with data before 2008. There was no survey conducted in 2009. The questions changed in 2013 and again in 2014.


I don't understand the purpose of the "Perceptions of the quality of care for community mental health services in 2013 and 2014" figures. By measuring it it looks like you could easily fool yourself into everything was just fine and dandy.
If I was selling something I might well be interested in people's perceptions of the product, but if everyone's perceptions are stellar, it won't actually help them - thinking things are OK doesn't make it so.

I would be really interested in their perceptions if they compared their treatment to the NICE guidelines, i.e. they don't know what they're missing if they don't know it exists.

Roger Sharp (not verified)
(changed )

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